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Best cities for successful aging -- can you believe it?

We are a society that loves rankings. But sometimes they just seem plain silly. Not long ago, the World Health Organization published a guide to Age-Friendly Cities – and surprise, there was New York City! Services, public transportation, technology galore – despite the crushing crowds on the street, eye-popping apartment rents and tough-as-nails subway riders – if you live there and you're growing old, you can do fine, says the WHO. Okay. So now we have the Milken Institute (a West Coast think tank) study about the 10 best cities where we can age successfully, and it’s much-publicized and picked up in the media, for its, uh, surprising, result. Factoring in affordability (!), weather, convenient transportation systems, aging-centered technology, there it was again – New York City, and now -- Boston is # 4!  For cities that are named on these lists, of course that means positive PR for city managers. Hear applause all around among the town marketers (see, there’s our town, Provo, Utah!!!). In the meantime, Louisville, KY, staking its future as a hub of age-related businesses and opportunity, ranked only 69 on the Milken scale.

Changes in longevity, health, housing must drive bundling of tech solutions

Elder care, housing and aging – the present is not like the past. We are entering the patchwork quilt era of senior housing that reflects lengthening life expectancy and a stretched economy: steady-state occupancy in assisted living at around 2.1 million for- and non-profit, a lot (1000) fewer nursing homes in the last decade. So what else is out there besides caring for an aging parent in your guest room? Quite a bit, actually. There are national networks and websites today that describe NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities); there are Virtual Villages, there is the Maine Approach (building a grass-roots volunteer network shored up with video monitoring), and now there is a national Co-housing Network. Meanwhile, over in China, the land of supposed taking care of aging parents in the home, check out all the senior group homes forming.

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